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TWIA might reconsider 5% rate hike

A past Zoom meeting of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association Board of Directors, which plans to meet again Dec. 7 at the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel. Recently, the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce urged its members to attend the meeting to protest a 5 percent hike in windstorm insurance rates set to go into effect Jan. 1. Discussion and possible action on the hike is No. 4 on the Dec. 7 agenda. Screen-captured image

Rate hike on Dec. 7 meeting agenda at urging of Gulf Coast legislators

Several Texas legislators are speaking out against the proposed 5 percent hike in windstorm insurance rates set to take effect Jan. 1, 2022, and they might have had an impact on the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association Board of Directors. The board plans to revisit the the issue when it meets again Dec. 7 in Corpus Christi. The United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce is urging its members and anyone opposed to the increase to attend the meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. at the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel. The meeting can also be joined virtually on TWIA’s website.

TWIA voted in the rate increase before a new Texas law went into effect disallowing rate votes whenever there is a vacancy on the board. The vote took place two days before the law took effect with a vacancy on the board.

With that and other factors in mind, 23 members of the Texas coastal legislative delegation formally requested the TWIA board reverse the rate increase approved in August. The request came in two letters: The first was sent Nov. 23; a second followup letter was signed and sent by 10 representatives on Nov. 30.

The rate increase was added to the Dec. 7 TWIA meeting. Near the top of the agenda, after public comment, agenda item No. 4 reads: “November 23, 2021, Letter from Coastal Legislators Requesting TWIA Board Reverse Its August 2021 Rate Decision – John Polak – Action/Vote Likely.”

The letters are addressed to TWIA Chairman Chandra Franklin-Womack and signed by five Texas representatives and five senators. Both letters make the same statement: “Please do not consider any rate increase on coastal policyholders, residents, and businesses at this time.”

The second letter argues that TWIA policyholders must also purchase flood insurance as a requirement for living in a flood zone. As a result of new ratemaking policies adopted by FEMA, a rate increase will have a huge economic impact on these homes and business owners. Those with coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program could face an annual increase of up to $240.

The increase is taking place at a time when the cost of living is on the rise. The rate of inflation was at 6.2 percent as of Nov. 10, 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index. The increase “causes additional and cruel financial burdens on coastal residents and business owners,” the second letter reads.

Recently, the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce notified members of the meeting, urging them to oppose the hike by either sending a comment or attending the meeting in person or virtually. Comments may be sent to PublicComment@twia.org by noon Friday, Dec. 3. This option is available to all Coastal Bend residents.

The Actuarial & Underwriting Committee of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association meets at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 6. Rates, and the potential for increase, will not be discussed at this meeting.

CORRECTION: The original story contained information that has since been corrected. TWIA voted in the rate increase before a new Texas law went into effect disallowing rate votes whenever there is a vacancy on the board. The vote took place two days before the law took effect. There was no vacancy on the board as previously reported, but only an absent board member when the 5-3 vote was made on Aug. 27. CCBizNews.com regrets the error.

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